News / Asia

Source: Suspects in India Teen-hanging Case May Walk Free, for Now

Indian policemen show two men (L and 2nd R), who are accused of gang raping and hanging two girls, to the media at Budaun district in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, May 30, 2014.
Indian policemen show two men (L and 2nd R), who are accused of gang raping and hanging two girls, to the media at Budaun district in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, May 30, 2014.
Reuters

Indian federal investigators will not oppose applications for bail by five men arrested over the murder of two teenage girls hanged from a tree, a source familiar with the case said, paving the way for the suspects' release.

The killings in May in India's most populous state shocked the world and stoked political tension between newly-elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi and state officials over the investigation of the case.

Initial inquiries had suggested the two cousins, aged 14 and 15, and belonging to a low-caste community, were raped before being hanged from a mango tree, highlighting a breakdown in law and order in northern Uttar Pradesh state.

The suspects, three brothers and two policemen, are being held in jail in the town of Budaun, 198 km (123 miles) southeast of the capital, New Delhi. They become eligible for bail upon the expiry of a 90-day period for authorities to press charges.

That deadline passed on Tuesday for one of the suspects, while for the others it falls on Thursday.

The decision by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) not to oppose bail follows a forensic report last week that ruled out sexual assault, and another preliminary report by a medical panel that reached a similar conclusion.

“The CBI won't oppose a bail plea if it comes ... initial reports do not say that they are likely culprits,” the source, who had direct knowledge of the CBI probe but sought anonymity in the absence of authority to disclose details, told Reuters.

“They have pointed out inconsistencies in the initial post-mortem and have called the doctors and staff for further consultation,” the source added, referring to the medical panel.

No lawyer has so far been hired by the suspects to post bail. Reached by telephone through a neighbor, the mother of the three brothers who are suspects said she was satisfied with how the investigation was going.

“We are short of money so we have not talked to lawyers yet,” she said in response to questions relayed by the neighbor. “When money is arranged we will try to get bail.”

Investigators have not been able to substantiate testimony against the suspects from the girls' relatives. While no charges will be filed at this stage, the suspects have not been declared innocent and the CBI probe will continue, the agency has said.

In a speech this month, Modi said India was shamed by increasing reports of sexual violence against women and girls.

The number of rapes reported rose 35.2 percent to 33,707 in 2013, with about a tenth of those reported in Uttar Pradesh, data from the National Crime Records Bureau showed.

India stiffened its rape laws after the gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old student on a moving bus in New Delhi in 2012 sparked street protests nationwide.

Still, sex crimes against women remain widespread. Females from poor and marginalized communities are often among the victims, activists say, while many such crimes go unreported or are not properly investigated.

Honor killings?

Archaic practices such as lynching women accused of witchcraft, honor killings and dowry murders persist in India because they remain socially acceptable, a United Nations official said last year.

Before the CBI probe, the Uttar Pradesh state police suggested the girls could have been victims of so-called 'honor' killings. A senior state police officer reiterated that stance last week.

Honor killings, a crime usually seen in rural and conservative parts of India, target individuals considered to have brought dishonor to their families through actions relatives believe have damaged their reputation.

The victims' families have consistently denied any role in the killings, and say they will personally oppose bail applications by the suspects.

“Everything is a lie. If the boys are let off, we will fight,” the father of one of the victims told Reuters by telephone. “We can also commit suicide, we can do anything.”    

 

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More